No matter how fascinating the fact of owning a startup is, no one will deny how hard it is to run one. Not everyone could separate his personal and professional life when it comes to running a startup. You get mentally, physically, and emotionally involved as you think about it 24X7X365. You think about the past, present, and future of your venture before leaving for the workplace, at the workplace, after leaving the workplace, during the vacations (if you ever take one), and maybe even at someone’s funeral.
And overthinking leads to entrepreneurial stress.
Entrepreneurial stress can cost you a fortune. Besides, it’s bad for your personal life as well. Managing your personal life, your professional life, and the life of your startup comes with a hefty price tag. It requires patience, good team, good leadership skills, and a proper work-play schedule.
Now, many entrepreneurs might have closed this article’s tab after reading the last sentence commenting – ‘easier said than done’ but those who didn’t, let’s discuss the actual cost of startup stress.
Disturbed Personal Life & Health
The first visible symptom of the entrepreneurial stress is your disturbed personal life and health. There are times when you forget to sleep or can’t sleep for days, when you forget to eat, or eat a lot due to stress. According to a research, insufficient sleep costs the US economy $411 billion and 1.2 million working days per year.
Startup stress and the resultant unhealthy habits don’t have positive outcomes on your body. They result in visible tiredness and often lead to the lack of attention to other important things like family, friends and hobbies which disturb your personal relations as well.
Unhealthy Startup Atmosphere
A sound team and a stable working environment are the prerequisites of success but entrepreneurial stress affects both. It has a negative effect on the internal work atmosphere as well as on the fellow team members of your startup. It leads to pessimism, inability to reach conclusions, and even causes conflicts among the team members.
Entrepreneurs, when in stress, generally focus more on the startup’s external problems (poor performance, less funds, more debt, rejection by potential customers, etc.) than on its effect on the internal stability which is equally important.
Anxiety & Lack Of Clarity
The biggest problem of entrepreneurial stress is that it keeps on building up. One wrong decision may lead to many negative outcomes which makes you more anxious as you carry all the burden on your shoulders. The increased anxiety takes the form of a never-ending maze as you lose your ability to reach conclusions and the sense of right and wrong.
Another problem that you usually face during the time of stress is the lack of clarity which often leads to you making many silly mistakes.
What’s worse than no ideas and creativity at the time when you need them the most? This is what entrepreneurial stress does to you.
How to deal with Entrepreneurial Stress?
No matter how big entrepreneur you are, you know about it, have experienced it, dealt with it, tried to overcome it, and most importantly – tried to avoid it. Startup stress is a fact of entrepreneur life and only those who are able to cope up with it are remembered in the long run.
No matter how stressful your entrepreneur life seems, there are steps you can take to relieve the pressure and manage everything effectively.
Have A Partner
Entrepreneurial stress makes you feel lonely, helpless, and disappointed, and there’s nothing better than having a partner whom you can count on. Having a co-founder not only boosts your morale but is also good for dividing responsibilities and risk mitigation.
Your startup partner has been always there with you through your venture’s good and bad time, he knows your struggle and is the best person to share your thoughts with or to take advice on your decisions.
Talk To Your Mentor Or Anyone You Deem Appropriate
All you need to do is talk.
Talking to your mentor helps you put the problem in to perspective and throw a new, objective view on it. It helps you to vent your emotions and feelings and get to think with a perspective of an experienced person.
The first thing an entrepreneur loses at the time of stress is trust. You can’t do all the work on your own. Try delegating what’s not that important. Delegation not only reduces entrepreneurial stress but also increases employees motivation.
Exercise (& Meditate)
Your physical and mental health is as important as your startup’s health. You can’t force yourself to sleep, but if you maintain a healthy exercise and meditation practice, you don’t have to. Take exercise seriously and include it in your routine. Besides, meditating for as few as 15 minutes a day can help you reduce stress, decrease anxiety, and improve your decision-making process.
Invest In Your Hobby
Sometimes, you get the best solution when you’re not thinking of the problem. Investing in your hobby not only lets you divert your mind from stress but also opens the blocked creativity doors of your mind.
Prioritization is the key to fight with the startup anxiety. Focus only on what deserves your attention and delegate which doesn’t. Prioritizing the short term and long term goals of your startup help you focus on what’s important and ignore what’s not.
Writing down your thoughts and feelings helps you understand them more clearly. It is a proven remedy to control stress and anxiety. Journaling is a good practice as it also helps you to review your previous decisions.
And who knows if it may turn into your autobiography someday.
You can work 24X7X365 but that’s unsustainable. You can invest all your family money in your startup but that’s not advisable.
Similarly, there are a lot of things you need to set boundaries for. Setting boundaries let you know when to say no, when to stop, and when to leave things as they’ve gone out of hands.
Go On, Tell Us What You Think!
Did we miss something? Come on! Tell us what you think about our article on entrepreneurial stress in the comments section.
A startup consultant, dreamer, traveller, and philomath. Aashish has worked with over 50 startups and successfully helped them ideate, raise money, and succeed. When not working, he can be found hiking, camping, and stargazing.